Tuesday, January 22, 2008

REVIEW: No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men

Year: 2007
Director: Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Starring: Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald
Distributor: Miramax Films
MPAA: Rated R

When No Country for Old Men came to theaters, I wasn't really interested. I mean sure the trailer looked pretty cool with what looked to be some great performances by the cast, but I still wasn't willing to go see the movie. Ill be honest here and say I haven't seen or reviewed any Coen films yet so me missing out on this film didn't seem too bad. When the massive reviews started coming in from various critics about the greatness of the film, it was only then that I decided I should go see it. I just had to see what I was missing out on. This was going to be my first review from a Coen directed film so I was kind of excited.

Plot Outline:
Local hunter Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin), while out deer hunting in the Texas desert, stumbles across half a dozen corpses in what seems to be a drug deal gone wrong. He also comes across $2 million in cash in a brief case and makes a decision that hes ultimately going to regret. The Mexicans who are the rightful owners of the money, find out the identity of Llewellyn, whose truck was found at the scene. They send a ruthless psychopathic hit-man by the name of Anton Chigarr (Javier Berdum), to recover the money and kill Moss. Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is on a mission to try and protect Moss and in doing so, catch the highly dangerous, Chigarr.

The story is based on the Cormac McCarthy novel "No Country for Old Men". The film starts off pretty quickly with the audience getting introduced to the main characters. We learn many things about the main characters that we like and dislike. The story gets really fascinating and interesting at the same time. I was literally sucked into this great plot that we have here. Every scene looked better and better with each of them getting more intense than the other. Although the story is great, its not really original. We have had many stories like this in the past, but I guess none have really been able to pull it off as good as the story in No Country for Old Men. While the story of the film is great, its also kind of a mixed bag. Its the ending that really kills the story. I found myself loving ever minute of No Country for Old Men until it got to the end. The ending doesn't really provide us with enough answers and doesn't end in a way the audiences would have wanted it to end. Their was also a few minor plot holes that I didn't find distracting at first, but they caught my attention the second time around. I cant really complain seeing as the story is based on the book.

The cast of the film is simply top notch. Everyone is basically at the tip of their career with some giving out Oscar performances. Josh Brolin plays the slick, but confident Llewelyn Moss and hes really great on screen. I enjoyed his performance he gave in the film and I hope he continues to have great roles like this in future films. Javier Bardem plays the mad Anton Chigurh and hes just brilliant in his role. His performance is outstanding and really great to watch. I think he gave the best performance out of everybody in this film. He definitely deserves an Oscar for his role in No Country for Old Men. Tommy Lee Jones plays Sheriff Ed Tom Bell and hes surprisingly good. I didn't expect an old actor like him to still be busting out memorable performances, but he does and I'm happy for that. The rest of the cast is great in their own ways. I simply loved the cast and I think everyone of them gave out alot of memorable performances.

No Country for Old Men doesn't offer alot in the visual department. The movie is 80% of the time filmed at night with a few scenes during the hot day. I did notice alittle bit of grain from time to time, but I think it was just intentional to add to the effect of the movie. Colors pop out and seem surreal. Some of the early dessert scene look nicely colored and full of vibrancy. The close ups on many of the actors look really good with many of their faces being detailed as it is. Some far away shots and scenes during the night can tend to look alittle soft at times, but the movie looks great for the most part. The cinematography for the film is also good and really shows you alot of areas. We get a few still shots that might seem random at first, but are pretty interesting because they add to the experience.

The soundtrack for the film...wait, what soundtrack. The movie doesn't feature any type of music or score, but instead is very quite for the most part. The entire film is shown only with alot of dialogue which necessarily isn't a bad thing. There aren't any cranked up bass or soundtrack anywhere in sight unless you count the credits which either way still doesn't really provide some music. Sure we do get some kind of sand/beat type music during the credits, but it saddens me that a film this great doesn't even have a great score to go with it. I think it could have really added to the experience and made some of the scenes alittle more intense. Since the film is entirely in dialogue, the voices seem pretty crisp and clear. You shouldn't have a hard time hearing everything.

I doubted the Coen brothers with out giving them a chance when this movie came out and in the end they came back to bite me in the ass. I enjoyed this great film and will try to review many of their other films that I have missed. The story although contains a few minor flaws and an un-filling ending, is still pretty damn enjoyable. The cast is outstanding with many of the cast giving out Oscar performances. The visual look of the film although alittle dark, seems pretty fine to me and works good. The movie contains no soundtrack what so ever which really disappoints because I think it could have only added to the experience. In the end, No Country for Old Men is a great film that everyone that's interested in a gritty thriller type movie should check out. It stays true to the famous novel and is really something you should see. I can easily recommend this to people because its one of the best movies to come out this year.

Grade: A-

1 comment:

patrick said...

just saw no country for old men; it's unassumingly unconventional and yet (thankfully) never over the top. a bit morally dumbfounding, but that can be a good thing... all in all the Coen brothers deserve their Oscars, well done indeed.